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Nickel test kit


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Could we discuss nickel test kits?  I used to have a two part kit but that was about 7 years back.  They were little droplet bottles that went pretty fast as there wasn't a lot in them.  I would like to get another kit.  Anyone willing to share what their source is for a nickel test kit?

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Unless you have a laboratory quality nickel test, the results for meteorite identification will not be accurate enough to provide useful data.

My preferred "nickel test" is XRF analysis.

Edited by Mikestang
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There are materials testing outfits all over. Ask anyone involved in construction and they can point you to someone that can perform an XRF analysis for you. It generally will cost about $15 if you take the sample to them. If you don't require a written report most guys will shoot your rock for free. It only takes about five seconds.

Keep in mind it only analyzes a tiny spot that the laser hits. So on a specimen like a low iron chondrite you won't get an accurate assessment unless you shoot the specimen a few times and make sure some metal gets under that tiny spot the machine is "seeing".

 

 

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Some jewelers, prospecting stores, pawn shops... I know a guy-5minutes and 10$ cash later...

Have you a small sample  you could crush to powder in a mortar? 

Put the resulting "rock" flour in a ziplock bag and it's ready to go.

Edited by Stillweaver hillbelli
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There are guys all over that do testing like this but they don't usually advertise to the public. Contacting their customers are the best way to contact them.

Call a hazardous materials remediation contractor. Anybody that removes asbestos, lead paint, spills, etc. Every one of those outfits contract with a materials testing lab that has XRF capability. 

Any architectural or engineering firm has a phone number to call to test for lead paint or tiles. That is the number you want. 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

Some jewelers, prospecting stores, pawn shops... I know a guy-5minutes and 10$ cash later...

Have you a small sample  you could crush to powder in a mortar? 

Put the resulting "rock" flour in a ziplock bag and it's ready to go.

I suppose you could crush it up...

The XRF looks at the very surface of whatever the laser hits. So I'm not sure crushing a sample would be getting you anywhere. 

Why would you crush it Stillbilly?

 

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14 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

I suppose you could crush it up...

The XRF looks at the very surface of whatever the laser hits. So I'm not sure crushing a sample would be getting you anywhere. 

Why would you crush it Stillbilly?

 

If the sample appears homogeneous, I would  not  bother making flour out of  a sample to obtain an accurate indication pro or con for Ni.

If it is not homogeneous, then crushing a sample would make it so , would it not?

Think of it as a total analysis.

 

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3 hours ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

If the sample appears homogeneous, I would  not  bother making flour out of  a sample to obtain an accurate indication pro or con for Ni.

If it is not homogeneous, then crushing a sample would make it so , would it not?

Think of it as a total analysis.

 

No. 

For a quantitive assay yes. But that is not what you are trying to achieve with a nickel test on a meteorite. 

Nickel only exists in those little flecks of iron. So you would not want homogenous. You would want to isolate those little flecks of iron and focus on those.

I have never heard of crushing and splitting a sample when using an XRF. Again, im no expert. 

If you were using an XRF to try and get a quantitive amount of gold in an ore sample yes. If you were trying to determine if a chondrite contained nickel then no. You would focus the beam at a metal flake. Focusing it elsewhere could very well yield a negative result when the metal flecks do contain nickel.

Crushing the sample would just make it more difficult to focus the beam on the metallic pieces where you would be looking for nickel.

You don't crush a tile to look for lead. You focus the beam on the pigment. You don't crush the sheetrock to look for lead in the paint You focus the beam on the surface where the lead would be. Likewise when looking for nickel in a met you would not crush the sample. You would simply focus the beam on the specimen where you would expect the nickel to be.

You are not trying to arrive at a quantitive measurement. How much nickel relative to weight of the specimen does not matter. You are trying to determine if nickel exists in the iron flecks. 

Crushing and splitting a sample is done to determine a percentage of concentration. It is irrelevant if you are trying to verify the presence of an element with the XRF.

 

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Since this thread is still active, I have something I have been wondering about.  With meteorite oxide such as from an old crater like the one near Winslow, does the nickel still show up in a xrf scan.  I have a small piece of that oxide and it says on a little card that came with it that it is 7% nickel.  Any experience with testing the oxide?  

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35 minutes ago, DarkSilicate said:

Since this thread is still active, I have something I have been wondering about.  With meteorite oxide such as from an old crater like the one near Winslow, does the nickel still show up in a xrf scan.  I have a small piece of that oxide and it says on a little card that came with it that it is 7% nickel.  Any experience with testing the oxide?  

I have no idea whatsoever. 

When you find your XRF hit that sucker with a couple shots and see if it sees any nickel. You would figure the nickel oxidizes with the iron and the XRF could still see it. But I am just talking out my backdoor here. I just don't know.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Not discounting what you all told me in this thread but, my wife ordered me a nickel test kit so I gave it a try on five of my little suspect irons.  Happy to say that all but one went positive on the test.  The one exception is the specimen that I showed a picture of in the minerals forum.  It just barely turned the swab pink. It's not an iron either.  All the other irons went way pink.  A couple actually turned the swap almost blood red.  More than just pink anyway.  

I'm a magnet dragger so almost all my suspect pieces are about 1/2" or smaller.  Some very small.  I don't want to ask the guy with the XRF to try to test those very small pieces so the nickel test will be all I do on them.  

So anyway, Just for grins, I am going to grab a hand full of swabs and spend some time testing, when I get some time.  : ). Big tree trimming project will have to get finished first.  : (

Now I am more excited about having the XRF gun work done on a couple bigger ones.  

Edited by DarkSilicate
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The problem with nickel tests is that a lot of man made steel contains nickel. So a nickel test like that does not really differentiate tramp metal from meteorites.

It is probably the only "home test" a guy can do. But it does not get you much closer to knowing whether the chunk of metal you found is truly an iron meteorite.

It may weed out some that do not contain nickel I suppose.

Do a nickel test on a cold chisel, a pair of pliers and a rusty file. I have never done it myself but I am told it will test exactly like an iron meteorite.

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Interesting little tidbit, I tried the nickel test on the meteoritic shale from Barringer Crater, the small Nantan piece I have and another suspect meteoritic shale piece I have.  None of them tested positive for nickel.  Not even a hint of pink.  Makes me think that asking the fellow with the XRF gun to shoot any of them would be a bit of a waste of time.  : (

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Got some time today to play so I tested some tools with my nickel test stuff.  Couldn't get any positives on what I tried it on.  Tested 5 more of suspect irons and they all turned the swap pink.  Anyway, it will be encouraging if the XRF shows same.  I will know more then about whether or not I am looking for the right stuff.  I have four little irons that I will take down to the guy with the gun as soon as I get a chance.  When he sees the pieces I have are all less than an inch in size he will probably roll his eyes.  : ). Oh well, still fun, fun.  

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:idunno:

I know tool steel is alloyed with nickel but I have no idea why your test didn't show it. Or if the tools you tested were alloyed with nickel. 

It's worth experimenting though. No matter how many eye rolls you get.

I hope you have some irons. That would be awesome!

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Posted (edited)

I went back out the shop and hunted up an old Craftsman cold chisel I knew I had some place.  I found it, I gave it a test and yes, it tested positive for nickel.  I cleaned a spot with some vinegar where I wanted to do the test to be sure it was good and clean.  The swab was part blackish and some light pink.

Edited by DarkSilicate
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I think roughness has a lot to do with it. There is a lot more surface area on a rough surface than a polished surface. It seems to me a test like that would really be affected by the profile of the surface.

My guess is a coarse weathered surface might test "darker" than a smooth surface. Just a hunch. 

 

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2 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

:idunno:

I know tool steel is alloyed with nickel but I have no idea why your test didn't show it. Or if the tools you tested were alloyed with nickel. 

It's worth experimenting though. No matter how many eye rolls you get.

I hope you have some irons. That would be awesome!

A lot of tools are chrome plated to prevent rust. That could prevent nickel from reacting with the reagents.

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